In 2004, Hamill told Movieblog.com that Lucas' ideas for the sequels go as far back as 1976 during the shooting of the original “Star Wars,” when the director said an older Hamill would have roles in them.
There is further backing for the idea that Luke will reappear from the films that have already been released, including “Return of the Jedi.”
And others around Lucas have spoken publicly about the idea that the family drama that began with Anakin Skywalker and continued with his son Luke would carry on for at least the next three films.
“It's really nine parts of one film,” said Rick McCallum, producer of the prequel Episodes 1, 2 and 3, in 1999, according to “The Secret History of Star Wars” by author Michael Kaminski.
The cohesion that McCallum suggested belies the haphazard nature with which the movies have been put together. At different points in time, Lucas has said there was just one, three, six, nine or even 12 films envisioned in all.
Kaminski's book recounts multiple script revisions to most of the films, including some discrepancies that were later papered over. For instance, at one point, Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader were separate characters, not the one person we know through the movies to have turned evil.
Given the proliferation of storylines and characters in the “expanded universe,” Kaminski said there's a good chance that some of those storylines will be cast aside, altered, or even contradicted outright.
“It will affect the `expanded universe' one way or another,” Kaminski said. “It's going to be hard to reconcile those different things.”
The idea that the new films will diverge from what's out there is supported by Kennedy, who spoke in a video released by Lucasfilm shortly after the Disney deal was announced.
“This is not like a series of books like `Harry Potter' where you've already got a template of what the stories might be,” she said. “These are original stories and original ideas that come from out of a world that essentially is in George's head.”
Beyond some broad strokes that the movies hint at — such as Luke's passing on the Jedi ways — it seems doubtful that such a creative mind as Lucas would surrender the movies' outcome to tales that have already been written.
That means that fans of the books, comics and video games in the “Star Wars” universe could be either disappointed or delighted by the result.
But if there were no surprises, the adventure just wouldn't be the same.
“Almost anything is possible,” said Jay Shepard, a content editor at fan site TheForce.net. “But I don't believe it will be any type of plotline we've already seen.”